The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers, Digital Edition > My Day
My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt


HYDE PARK, Tuesday—It is a little unpleasant to see draft registration start again in the United States, and I am sure there are many people who feel sad that the condition of the world does not yet seem stable enough so that disarmament can really begin throughout the world.

Our boys who are now registering must be trained for war and not for peace. We know that we are doing this in the hope that the strength of our nation may be a factor in keeping the peace in the world.

The willingness of our young men to be trained and to serve their country should serve notice on the belligerents of the world that America intends to remain strong and to be prepared to use force as long as force is the only weapon that demands the respect of certain nations.

But every one of us who longs to see the world put its greatest efforts into peacetime achievements will hope that before long solutions to some of the problems facing the great nations may be found and that then, with the help of the United Nations, disarmament will begin.

* * *

There are many parts of the country that would be grateful for a heavy rainfall at the present time, following the torrid spell that blanketed the country. And I am sure that many people were happy to see that the Dark Harbor, Me., forest fire was extinguished before much damage was done. Few of us have forgotten the terrible ordeal that Maine went through last year. It has been cooler here in New York State the last day or so, but no rain has yet fallen in Dutchess Country.

When one flies across the country one realizes how much devastation is caused by fires every year in wooded areas. Acres and acres of woodland where trees have taken years to grow can be made desolate in a matter of a few hours.

I think perhaps one of the things that we neglect is to teach all children, whether they live in the country or in the city, how to prevent forest fires. In Switzerland every school child is taught the lesson very thoroughly. In that country the woods belong to the community and are usually run on a commercial basis for the benefit of the community as a whole. To destroy the property costs the taxpayers' money, since the value of the woodland is often applied to the taxes.

Children are taught to enjoy the woods, to eat out-of-doors, and to leave everything looking as immaculate when they depart as it was when they arrived. But they never have outdoor fireplaces, and they never light fires. We could well give a similar course in our grade schools. Where we do allow fireplaces, we should be even more careful that the children learn in school how to prevent the sparks from starting a fire that would get out of control and cause great damage.

The hunting season soon will be under way in our state, and unless rain comes before it opens we will face a very dangerous situation. A fire not only destroys trees and sometimes homes that lie in its path, but it is very destructive of the wildlife of an area.

E. R.


Names and Terms Mentioned or Referenced

  • Hyde Park (Dutchess County, N.Y., United States) [ index ]
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About this document

My Day by Eleanor Roosevelt, September 1, 1948

Roosevelt, Eleanor, 1884-1962
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Digital edition created by The Eleanor Roosevelt Papers Project The George Washington University 312 Academic Building 2100 Foxhall Road, NW Washington, DC 20007

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Transcription created from a photocopy of a UFS wire copy of a My Day column instance archived at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Library.